The Legend of the Grail, it is a mystery that will never fail to intrigue mankind, and in particular those sensible souls who meditate on this tale, because it’s place doesn’t belong to a particular age, or to a Geographical place, but goes beyond the intellect to that Sacred place, that independently of location, or time belong to every Human Being; his Heart.
Therefore it will be useless to try to fit this Mystical tale in an Historical fact based context, like many writers have done in the past, however we can examine some of it’s origins.
The word Grail come from old Meridional France from the word graalz, Provencal grazal, ancient Catalan gradalis, gradalus, a sort of vase.
We can trace it’s story to the end of the XII century to three Chanson de geste or Epic songs that had become famous: Le Conte Du Graal (Perceval li Gallois) from Chretien de Troyes, Romanz De L’estorie Dou Graal from Robert de Boron, and Parzival from Wolfram Von Eschenbach.
The story of the Grail represents the Visio Dei (God Vision) it is not the vision of man of God, but God’s vision of Himself in man, this ancient Tradition, is at the base in the Western World to the Imago Dei developed by William de San Thierry and the Cistercian school based in the Greek Fathers of the III and IV century, this doctrine is nothing but the direct knowledge of God and his Verb, as an experiential reality, rather than a mere intellectual speculation. This doctrine it is also at the base of the Pseudo Dionysus, and his followers, Master Eckhart, and Nicholas of Cusa, and many other Gnostics.
His Metaphysical foundation it’s the Transcendental Intellect, or as the modern Philosopher, and Theologian Henry Corbin named; The Mundus Imaginalis based on his studies on the Sheik Al-Akbar, the Spanish, Arab Mystic Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi. (1165-1240)
The vessel that Jesus used in order to serve the wine at the Last Supper to his Disciples, the Holly Chalice is considered to be this Holly Grail, in the stories, this Grail is the centerpiece where the Eucharist represent the Divine Sacrament of Communion.
The Transfiguration represented by the Wine, and the Bread in to the blood, and Flesh of Christ, it is the key to the understanding of a direct Communion, or transcendental Union between God and Man, this ancient ritual is first encountered in the Bible in Genesis XIV 18-20
Then Melchizedek King of Salem brought bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of Heaven and Earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies in to your hand.” And he gave him a thite of all.
It was understood that the Chalice used by Christ Himself would hold properties, and virtues derived of this fact, sort of an Original, and Primordial magnitude that would give the seeker not only a Symbolic ritual, but the secret of the Eternal Life, a Lapis Exillis (Stone of the Philosopher) type of qualities.
The search for the Grail represents the goal of the Spiritual seeker of an Unio Mystica, a goal that is open to the Men, and Women of all times.
But let’s examine some of the key passages of this Myth; Perceval in his first adventure he finds the Fisher King in his Magic Castle Corbenic a place of wanders, the King is wounded, affecting this not only him, but his Kingdom as well, Perceval is witness to some strange things he can’t figure out, like a young man carrying a bleeding lance, and others carrying candelabras, finally a beautiful maiden appears bearing the Grail, where a single wafer keeps the King alive, failing to understand the riddle, and talking too much after been warned to keep silent, he wakes up the next day alone in the forest, everything being more like a dream, the castle and the King gone.
Now this Myth it is similar to many other ones in different ages, at different places, and with another narrative, however the Schema, or Archetype in the stories is the existence of a secret realm that it is not reached through normal means, like traveling and going there, but part of an Esoteric Geography of the Soul.
This involves leaving oneself to reach the Truth Self, but between the two, a great event will have change everything; the Self that is found in this Marvelous place, it is the Self that waits beyond ordinary reality, and only can be witness when our Heart functions as the Grail; a receptacle to the Divine…
But who is this Melchizedek that appears out of nowhere to Bless Abram?
He is Khezr, or Khadir in the Muslim Tradition, Elijah in the Jewish Tradition, or St. George in the Christian, or any like Him in any other one, the mysterious Saint, the eternal wanderer, the one who has bathed in the in the Spring of Life and found True Reality, in the Land of Darkness, flowers and herbs spring in its wake, He also appears in the desert in a place where a giant rock divide two Oceans…
In the Koran, XVIII 60-82 Moses go looking for Instruction to the place where the two Oceans meet in search of Khezr.
There is some controversy about who Melchizedek really is, and what relationship has with Jesus, some note the similitude, like both are Kings of Righteousness, and Peace, High Priest, Eternal, and Pre-Existent, Anointed Ones, And the Ritual of the Bread and Wine. In Heb.7.3 we read:
“Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the son of God he remain a priest for ever.”
We do not want to enter in that controversy, but would like to point out that in Heb. 6.20 we read, that Jesus, having become a High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. In other words he didn’t require to have a Levite background, or any other known affiliation, but from the direct Priesthood established by God Himself!
It is also important to notice that in the Gospel of John 1.27,31, 33 John the Baptist, claims:
“He it is, who cometh after me is preferred before me whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”
“I knew Him not”
This is to mean Jesus didn’t belong to a terrestrial established priesthood, or tradition, but to a Celestial one, the Melchizedek Order, which John didn’t belong to, but Jesus did.
In this way the Grail Order does not have a terrestrial origin, but a celestial one, since it didn’t belong to the Church under the control of the Papacy at the time. But to the Order of Melchizedek, or whatever name you want to name it according to a particular Tradition, like Khezr who appear in the desert with water and Initiation for the masterless ones, or the Hidden Imam who vanished in to a cave in the desert, or any one who lives beyond the Barzakh Isthmus of Similitude in the midst of the sea of images, in an Island of Emerald, with trees made out of precious jewels, flowers of Beryl, Palaces of Jasper, and Jade, or the young man dressed in black who appears to alchemist in dreams, and Initiates them in dreams. The ones who come beyond the Mountain of Qaf, the place of departure that you arrive there again.
The encounter with the Theophanic person imply always a return to the “Axis Mundis” the Center of the World, the Magic Mountain, the Tree, or the Fountain of Life, The Secret Cave, the Origin of the World the Alam Al-Khayal the World of Imagination, or the Alam Al-Mithal the World of Similitude.
So, as to how do we find the Grail?
It will be necessary to first find Khezr, or Elijah, and like him bath in the Spring of Life.
He who has found the meaning of True Reality has arrived at that Spring, when you emerge from the Spring of the Eternal Life, then you also will be like Khezr.
If interested on the subject, you can also read my post: “Dreams, Visions, Symbols of the Theophanic Image Within” (November, 2011), and Aquila, Ophiuchus, Quetzalcoatl, Alchemy of Transformation” (March, 2011)